Action Fraud has received 63 reports about a scam in which fraudsters target people with offers of "low cost" loans or "free" government grants.
What the victims aren't told is that the money they'll receive is actually an advance payment for Universal Credit.
The criminals use the personal information they've obtain under false pretences to make an application in the victim's name. After the fraudsters have taken their "fee" from the advance payment, the victim is then left to pay back the total amount once their repayments begin.
How you can protect yourself:
Never share your personal or financial information with someone you don't know and trust, especially if it's in response to an offer of "free money" or a "free grant".
Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) staff will never approach you in the street or ask for your personal/financial details over social media.
If you have concerns about your benefits, you should visit www.gov.uk/contact-jobcentre-plus
If you suspect your identity may have been stolen, you can check your credit rating quickly and easily online. You should do this every few months anyway, using a reputable service provider and following up on any unexpected or suspicious results.